I have sympathy for those who perturbed by what the Synod might come up with, and what the Pope might say or do. I can understand those who ask what the purpose of the Synod was, I don't know what the Pope really wanted, that is a closed book, and likely to be closed forever. It is easier to speculate what God wants, we have more clues.
The Synod has revealed the mess that already exists in the Church, the diversity of pastoral practice, the diversity of opinions, the diversity of orthodoxies, and heterodoxies too. Many will argue why not just leave these swept under the carpet and pretend we are united.
From what I know about God he is not into dumb-shows or pretending anything. Before he is the God of surprises he is the God of truth and transparency, of honesty and integrity. One of the things that surprises me is how little the Synod Fathers have spoken about God himself, about grace, about salvation, about the supernatural, or even conversion. That is at least honest, today's Church is not that concerned about these things either, so no wonder we are obsessed by being "where we are at" rather than the more hope filled, "where God desires us to be" and "where God empowers us to be". In our characteristic, neo-Jansenist Western way, we are obsessed with wounds and blood and individuals suffering or sentimentality rather than the blinding light of the Transfiguration or the Resurrection, or the transforming fire of Pentecost. We concentrate on our sin rather than his grace, on what is below rather than what is from above. The Synod reflected perfectly the neuralgic introspection of the Church of 20th century Europe, so many interventions echoed its death rattle, scratching the itch of its own indisposition.
The two noted highlights of the Synod came from the other lung of the Church from the East, one was from Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea, from Romania and the other from the Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, both were critical of the place where the Church is at, both called the Church to be faithful, prophetic and counter cultural. I do doubt that we are capable in the Church's present situation of responding to them or even hearing them.
The crisis is one of unity, there have been calls for 'regionalisation' or 'decentralisation' but that is precisely what we have. It strikes me the Pope, in rather Jesuitical way, merely wants to codify or legislate for something that actually already exists. The alternative is to let things continue as they are, to let the dirt, as it were, to continue to be swept under the carpet. By lifting the carpet the floor can either be swept or more dirt added. possibly with additional bits of debris, I like many fear the latter.
The role of the Bishop of Rome is to be the chief floor sweeper, to say 'no', to say which Churches or doctrines are so far beyond the pale that they have broken communion with him or are heretical. The next crisis, possibly the next Synod ought to be on his role. It strikes me that the Ultramontane spirit of Vatican One, is both far from what has been Catholic Tradition or what that Council actually defined. The Pope is not an innovator or an introducer of novelties, nor is his personal whim, as Cardinal Wuerl, would have it, is the touchstone of orthodoxy.
I wonder if the Church was better off, when presumably in the first few centuries no-one outside of Rome knew his name, or if he had been martyred and replaced, or sent to the mines, or as in the pornocracy one was uncertain of who the Pope was but knew he must be either having a relationship with, or was related to, the harlot Morazia. I think of Moore and Fisher defending the Papacy, yet being scandalised by the Pope or during the modern period knowing the Pope was either pawn of either the Spanish, the French, or an appointee of the Austro-Hungarians. The post Vatican II papacy seems unworkable. The liturgical reforms were not the work of the Council but of the Papam vult of the post-Concilliar Liturgical Concilliam, with all the shady dealing Bouyer reveals. The Presidential style of 'fat pope, thin pope' seems to shake the Church's unity not guarantee it..
I am beginning to feel the great legacy Benedict left us with was his resignation, the idea that the Papacy was not actually linked to a particular man, and certainly not to his preferences or to his whims, but to an institution, ultimately to Church of Rome. With the dismantling of so much, especially the Liturgical Tradition itself, one is left asking 'what is it that makes us Catholic'. Cardinal Wuerl says that those who disagree with 'reform' don't like the Pope. I love him, I pray for him, I try to understand him but liking him has never been the touchstone of Catholicism. Will Wuerl "like" the next Pope, (even if he were Cardinal Burke), or will he cease to be a Catholic? Closet liberal that I am, I am beginning to wonder if the Papacy could maintained but actually exercised a group of Roman Presbyters, maybe it could be a requirement that only the senile ever sat on the Papal throne, or maybe an individual elected for a brief time, say six months, then replaced, or some stylite who comes of his pillar a only few times a year. Absurd ideas, I admit it... but...,.
|Look at these kittens - would you deny them the Eucharist? I couldn't, would you?